[Beowulf] Hypothetical Situation

Jeffrey B. Layton laytonjb at comcast.net
Thu Jan 22 16:22:02 EST 2004

Jim Lux wrote:

> At 09:29 AM 1/22/2004 -0600, Brent M. Clements wrote:
>> We have a request by some of our research scientists to form a beowulf
>> cluster that provides the following abilities:
>> 1. It must be part of a shared computing facility controlled by a batch
>> queuing system.
>> 2. A normal user must be able to compile a customized kernel, then 
>> submit
>> a job with a variable pointing to that kernel. The batch queuing system
>> must then load that kernel onto the allocated nodes and reboot the nodes
>> allocated.
>> 2a. If the node doesn't come back up after rebooting, the job must be
>> canceled and the node rebuilt automatically with a stable kernel/image.
>> 3. When the job is finished, the node must be rebuilt automatically 
>> using
>> a stable kernel/image.
>> The admin's here have come up with a name for this:  "user
>> provisioned os imaging". Our gut feeling is that this can be done but it
>> will be a highly customized system. What is everyone's thoughts,
>> experiences, etc etc concerning doing something like this?
> I think this cries out for diskless nodes!! The only moderately tricky 
> part will be the mangement of the cluster so that you can feed off the 
> right images when the node reboots and asks for its image. Some fairly 
> simple database table of MAC, Node ID, image, etc. would probably take 
> care of it. Obviously, you'll need some sort of remote controlled 
> booting (power cycle?). Possibly, you might want to have centrally 
> managed network switches so you can isolate the subclusters, in case 
> someone builds a kernel that runs amok. 

I've got just the thing for this - Warewulf. WW can already
handle hetero diskless clusters. I'm working on a write-up
on how to do. I've tested it on my home cluster and it works



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